"The conditions today were extremely complicated. It was like riding on ice. When it rains lightly, there is less grip compared to heavy rainfall, plus the asphalt temperature was only 15°C. The third row is not bad at all. It will certainly make my life easier in the race. With a dry track, I am rather certain that I can still battle for a top-ten finish, but in the wet, I don’t have the best feeling. In qualifying, I didn’t feel much support from the rear tyre in acceleration. I took a few risks on my flying lap, but it would be difficult to do that for the entire race distance."
ANDREA, WHO HAD NEVER RIDDEN THE RS-GP IN THE WET, IS HINDERED BY HIS PHYSICAL CONDITIONS FOLLOWING THE JEREZ CRASH
Aleix Espargaró had lain the groundwork for his outstanding undertaking yesterday when, in perfect conditions on a dry track, he had finished in the top ten to go straight through to Q2, the second qualifying session that decides the top end order on the starting grid. Today, in entirely different conditions that were difficult to interpret, with light rain that left everyone in doubt as to which tyres to use, he repeated the performance, doing the ninth best time which earned him a spot on the third row of the starting grid. Going out on track with rain tyres, Aleix did his fast lap on the second of the eight he turned, before the rain began to fall harder. For Aprilia, this is one of the best MotoGP qualifiers and confirmation of how much the RS-GP has grown in these early stages of the season.
Andrea Iannone was unable to get over the Q1 hurdle. Still dealing with difficult physical conditions, partly due to persistent pain in his left ankle after his crash in Jerez, Andrea battled hard, even taking a gamble on slicks when it seemed like the track might have conceded a small window of improved conditions. Making the day even more difficult was the fact that this was Andrea’s first time ever riding the Aprilia in the wet. The gamble did not pay of – it happens – and Andrea had to settle for 22nd place.
"Having to tackle conditions like today for the first time with a new bike is certainly not easy. In Q1, a lot of riders started on slicks, managing to do a flying lap in the few moments of dry track, whereas when I went out, it started raining again. My time with rain tyres wasn’t bad. In Q2 I would have been in seventh place, but unfortunately things went differently. In addition to the pain in my ankle, today I also had some stomach problems, but we are not giving up. We’ll keep giving it our best all the time."